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A popular buzzword in today’s times – detox refers to optimising the body’s function of toxin removal. This is often done by consuming foods and drinks that supposedly possess detoxing properties. 

Detox essentially means cleansing of the entire system, and hence is also known as a “cleanse”. People follow different diets and regimes to help remove unwanted substances from the body. 

There are several forms of detox diets and cleanses that people tend to follow for various different reasons, even though the scientific community seems to be divided on whether it is beneficial or ultimately bad for the body. Essentially, the different kinds of detoxes are meant to achieve similar goals, by either replacing solids with primarily a liquid-based diet, cutting out certain food groups to help the body to detoxify, and/or meant to clean up your digestive tract.

Some cite the example of giving the digestive system a much deserved break, especially after the holiday season gets over, where it is likely you may have indulged in a lot of binge-eating. It is sometimes also performed to stabilise the body's metabolism process, although many of these claims have yet to be established with concrete evidence.

How effective is a detox diet? Let’s find out.

  1. Benefits of a detox
  2. Tips for a full-body detox
  3. What to eat, what not to eat
  4. Takeaways

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the United States, there are limited studies to show that detoxification helps with insulin resistance detoxification of the body by fance, blood pressure and even weight/fat loss. Moreover, there haven’t been any competent studies to show the long-term impacts of detox diets.

The first and most important part of doing a detox is limiting the consumption of alcohol. Consuming alcohol directly impacts and in severe cases, impairs liver function. The liver is extremely crucial for naturally releasing toxins like bilirubin from the body, thus purifying the blood. 

Read more: Foods to improve liver health

Drinking at least 9-11 glasses of water per day will help in detoxification of the body by aiding in the process of the flushing out of waste products. By increasing your water intake, your body reduces the secretion of the antidiuretic hormone and increases urination, eliminating more water and waste products.

It is a widely known fact that in order to rejuvenate, the body requires a certain fixed amount of rest. No detox can be successful if attention is not paid to completing an adequate amount of sleep. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep per day helps in getting rid of beta amyloid, a toxin known to cause Alzheimer’s disease while also significantly reducing the risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

While the internet is full of “detox cleanses”, taking up most of them might actually be harmful if not checked with a medical practitioner first. The idea behind a detox is eating right. Here are some tips that can help you while deciding on a detox:

  • Cut down your salt intake: Heavy salt intake can cause water retention, especially if you have pre-existing conditions of the kidney or liver. Cutting down on salt intake will help reduce bloating, thereby releasing toxins.
  • Eat sulphur-rich foods: Sulphur-rich foods such as broccoli, onions and garlic help in the excretion of heavy metals like cadmium from the body.
  • Consumption of antioxidant rich foods: Green tea, berries, coffee and nuts are among the most antioxidant rich foods known. These antioxidants, including vitamins and lycopene can help control the damage caused by free radicals in the body.
  • Make probiotics a must: Having probiotic-rich foods will help in maintaining your gut health, which is crucial in keeping your body’s detoxification system in place. Good sources of probiotics include tomatoes, bananas and asparagus. These have good bacteria that produce nutrients called short chain fatty acids, which are beneficial for good health.

To the layman’s eye, a detox diet may seem like the one-stop solution to all known bodily troubles, but it is important to understand that the change that comes with a detox diet is short term. 

For making lasting changes, it is essential to detox our lifestyle. There are innumerable detox diets available as soon as you click ‘search’ on the internet, but it would be prudent to take advice from a qualified medical professional before taking up one of them.

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